Capistrano Valley's Nathan Manning attempts to break away from a host of El Toro defenders during the Cougars’ 41-7 Sea View League victory Friday night at Capistrano Valley High.

Capo Valley defense picks off El Toro


MISSION VIEJO – Capistrano Valley’s athletic defense has been so consistent that holding opponents to a touchdown or less may start to become an expectation for Cougars coach Ernie Bucher.

In a game featuring two of the county’s top five quarterbacks in passing yards, the Cougars’ defense made it a one-sided affair, riding four interceptions to a 41-7 rout of El Toro in a Sea View League game at Capistrano Valley High.

The Cougars’ offense rewarded the defense’s efforts by turning three of the five takeaways into 17 points.

“We were confident coming in,” Cougars cornerback Justin Burk said. “We weren’t expecting 41-7, but we knew we could win this game if we executed.”

Capistrano Valley (7-1, 2-0) came into the game having given up 7.1 points per game through its first seven contests. After El Toro quarterback Cooper Jones hit Austin Derrico for a 48-yard score to open the scoring, the Cougars secondary caused traffic.

“We were able to control what they were doing with a great game plan and great execution,” Bucher said. “They’ve been relentless all year.”

First, it was Ryan Schurmer hauling in a tipped pass by Derrico. That led to a 10-play, 60-yard drive and a 5-yard touchdown run by Cougars’ quarterback Kevin Brown to tie the score at 7-7.

Then it was Brock Ricci cutting off a receiver late in the second quarter as El Toro (2-6, 1-1) was marching in the red zone. That led to an Andre Vera 1-yard TD run just before halftime as Capo led, 28-7.

Tommy Dickman picked off Jones early in the third quarter and later came up with a fumble recovery, which led to a Clay Eggeman field goal.

Finally, Burk provided double coverage on Derrico on a deep pass down the sideline and provided the fourth interception. Jones finished 16 of 36 for 202 yards.

Meanwhile, it was smooth sailing for Brown, who completed 26 of 37 passes for 320 yards and a TD. Michael Dyer was the beneficiary, hauling in nine passes for 174 yards and racking up plenty of yards after missed tackles, including his 59-yard TD reception in the second quarter.

Riley Kasper also caught nine passes for 119 yards and a touchdown off a trick-play pass from Nathan Manning.

“Kevin played fantastic, he was in full control tonight,” Bucher said. “He took what they gave him and the receivers made big plays.”

The win puts Capistrano Valley in the driver’s seat for a Sea View League title with Aliso Niguel and Dana Hills still to come.

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